MY TURN: RUSSELL A. SHAFER: Pinehurst Roundabout: Not Only Unsightly but Unsafe As Well
Well, Resorts has its "roundabout," and we have a disgusting piece of road design, complete with visual pollution that defies description.
By my count, there are at least 25 traffic-directing signs. I think that the DOT put out a call for all Highway Department garages to gather up the leftover signs standing against their shop walls and send them to Pinehurst.
And speaking of signs, they might as well put a stop sign at each entrance to the roundabout so that at least one can rightfully expect the vehicle ahead to stop at the entrance, rather than expecting it to keep moving into the circle, merging with other vehicles, only to have it stop just as you touch your accelerator. It seems a lot of folks failed that part of the driver's license examination. I digress.
My heart goes out to the folks that live in that lovely, white house that now has this monstrosity in its front yard. How disgusting it must be to have to see that scene out your front windows.
While working in front of The Village Chapel, I saw one of the larger FirstHealth ambulances followed by a Pinehurst Fire Department engine pick their way through the circle. That event gave a new meaning to "rock and roll."
Another time, I approached while heading south on Carolina Vista Drive, second in line to enter. I began to hear sirens and air horns announcing approaching Fire Department vehicles. Two of them were heading east, coming up the hill from N.C. 5, planning to go around the circle and exit on the eastbound road.
The smaller brush truck was able to pick its way past and around vehicles at various points in the circle by driving over portions of the center island. But the large engine stopped dead at the entrance by cars all over the place, its siren screaming as it tried to inch its way forward.
The resulting chain of events featured vehicles scurrying this way and that. A landscaper's truck towing a mower trailer blocked the engine's way, its driver staring into the radiator of a large, red truck with its lights blazing, its siren screaming and its air horn saying, "Move, dammit, move!" Finally it inched backward two feet, allowing the engine to break free.
The creation of the roundabout, suitable in size for a maximum of four golf carts at one time, right in the heart of the most used emergency route to the northeast sector of the village and the hospital, was truly well thought out.
It is rather like the situation on Linden and McKenzie Road, and other wagon trails carved through the pines that the village calls roads. Ask the fire chief how many mirrors have been ripped off the fire trucks as they navigate those narrow tracks, barely wide enough for two automobiles to pass side by side safely, let alone a school bus and a UPS truck. Heaven forbid a school bus and a fire truck head-to-head on either of those roads.
The road width allowed to remain -- "rather than destroy the ambience of the village by taking down the first row of trees on each side of the roadbed," as I was answered by a former mayor at a council meeting when I broached the subject -- is criminally unsafe.
One afternoon, in front of the entrance to Quail Hill, I saw a pickup, moving to the edge to avoid an oncoming vehicle, hit a tree head-on. That tree is just two feet from the edge of the road. The Fire Department had to clean up that mess.
Russell A. Shafer lives in Pinehurst.
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